Beth Nolan, a top government lawyer in the Clinton administration, published an op-ed in today’s Washington Post in which she argued that “the White House is taking [the executive] privilege too far” by refusing to produce top aides like Karl Rove for formal testimony before Congress regarding the decision to replace eight U.S. attorneys. But Nolan forgot to explain why.
When the assertion of executive privilege impedes a congressional investigation, resolution of the dispute should turn on a weighing of the competing interests. The correct balance will depend on the specific circumstances, including the gravity of the investigation, the importance of the testimony sought, and alternative means of obtaining the information.
Nolan neglects to weigh these factors. Over at the AOL blog, I argue that in this case President Bush has struck the proper balance.
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